Family of drowning victim push for changes to Kincardine pier
KINCARDINE, ONT. -- A Kincardine woman and the family of a man who died after jumping from the pier to rescue two others, want to see changes to the structure.
On Sept. 3, Aleem Ramji jumped into a dangerously wavy Lake Huron to save his cousins, who were swept off Kincardine’s pier by roaring waves.
Although his cousins were rescued, try as he might, Ramji could not make it back to shore. His family from Mississauga, Ont., who were visiting Kincardine for the first time that day, are pushing for changes to Kincardine’s pier safety.
Meagan Fair is a Kincardine resident who started a GoFundMe fundraiser for the family, and is working with them to come up with safety improvements for Kincardine’s pier.
“Aleem Ramji’s family, they were the ones that were swept into the lake. They want to do something to bring a positive to the tragedy and hopefully prevent another family from having go through this,” says Fair.
Kincardine’s pier has been closed since Ramji’s drowning as the municipality reviews their waterfront safety.
“We had a lifesaving audit in 2016, so we’ve been following those recommendations from the Lifesaving Society for our safety protocols, our signage, since then,” says Kincardine Mayor Anne Eadie.
One suggestion from Fair and the Ramji family is more information for tourists as they arrive at Kincardine’s beach. Fair and her co-workers are discussing creating an electronic monitoring system that would alert visitors to dangerous conditions.
“Looking at some sort of electronic visual alert system. It could be a monitor that takes into account wind currents and the waves and to alert people to whether or not it’s a high risk that day or if it’s safe to go into the water. Something that doesn’t have to be a flag where someone has to come out and raise the flag up. This could just be automatically turned on based on different data,” says Fair.
Eadie says this is the first drowning at Kincardine’s waterfront since 2015. She expressed her deepest sympathies to Ramji’s family, saying the pier will remain closed indefinitely.
Fair believes the community is eager to see safety improvements at Kincardine’s beach and pier so no one perishes at their waterfront.
“If you’re a tourist and you’ve never been to Kincardine before, it’s the waves and sunsets that attract you. It’s difficult to appreciate what the lake is capable of and what it can do. What an undertow is, what’s a rip current,” she says.
More than $8,500 has been raised for the Ramji family through Fair’s GoFundMe campaign.